Evil Dead is both loyal and un-loyal to the original film. I try to look at this film, not as a re-make, but as a re-imagining. The film follows the same plot as the original and features a few similar scenes and scenarios that the original film had, but overall it was a new Evil Dead experience. There were new characters and essentially the whole second half of the film was new. To be honest after watching through to the end of the credits (which you definitely should) I'd actually say this film is more of a sequel to the original.
The film ups the intensity compared to the original. The film film had a little bit of black comedy, especially Evil Dead II, but this one is dead serious (pun unintended). Evil Dead actually even ups the gore a little bit as you could probably guess if you've seen the red band trailer. A fair amount of scenes in the film were actually disturbing to watch. I've said this before, but gore doesn't really scare me. It's just intense. The new Evil Dead, as well as the original, do well at putting in a couple of scares as well as a shower of blood. Well rain in this case (just watch the film to get my lame joke). I didn't find this is scary as the original, but definitely gorier.
Evil Dead proves practical effects can turn out better then special effects. Literally over three quarters of horror films these days use a showcase of special effects, but this film apparently used entirely practical effects and incredibly realistic makeup and prosthetics. The practical effects actually look more disturbing and realistic then a lot of special effects filled horrors. The film proves that you don't need a massive budget to make a great horror film. This is quite possibly one of the best remakes of a classic ever made.
The start of the film rushes the relationships between the characters very quickly. The film opens with a shocking and disturbing scene then cuts forward in time to the group arriving at the cabin where it's quickly announced the relationships they have with each other. It takes about a minute to establish how everyone knows each other and how well they know each other. I can understand that this was done as we're really just here to watch then all die (that sounds so bad reading it out loud) yet the director still tried to make an effort to build characters well.
To sum up Evil Dead is possibly one the best remakes that's ever been done. It's loyal to the original whilst still being it's own film, it's use of practical effects is realistic and disturbing although establishing relationships was rushed.
3 1/2 Stars